Shiny Jesus, and His Shiny Happy Kingdom

Transfiguration Sunday, Year A
Matthew 17:1-9
Sunday, March 6, 2011

Grace to you and peace, from the one who is, who was, and who is to come.  Amen.

In preparation for today’s Transfiguration Sunday sermon
    I couldn’t help but think of the peppy 1991 song Shiny Happy People
    by the great alternative rock band of my generation, REM.
This song is quite peppy – nauseatingly so, perhaps – but as you watch the video,
    you can’t help but smile as you see smiling, happy people
    sing and dance and come together in a celebration of happiness.
Lead singer Michael Stipe sings the repeated refrain,
    “Shiny happy people holding hands, shiny happy people laughing”
    while dancing in circles with a silly hat on his head.
It is pure, unadulterated – and terribly cheesy – happiness.
And so I think of this song today, on Transfiguration Sunday,
    as we read of Jesus standing atop the mountain alongside Moses and Elijah,
    with his face shining bright like the sun.
Shiny happy people, shiny happy Jesus, right?

Read More

Awed to Silence (Transfiguration, Year B)

The Festival of the Transfiguration, Year B
February 22, 2009
Mark 9:2-9

In the name of Jesus, the light and life of the world: Grace, Mercy, and Peace be to you.  Amen.

It is a rite celebrated each December . . .
    the annual bombardment of year-in-review news specials,
    person of the year features in weekly news magazines,
    and countdowns of top songs, movies, and television shows.
I remember how as kids we’d sit, with great anticipation each New Year’s Eve,
    gathered around the stereo system in my dad’s house,
    listening to the countdown of the year’s greatest hits,
    wondering, hoping, crossing our fingers,
        that our favorite song would end up at the top of the chart,
        the last song on the list, the best song of the year, played at midnight.

Read More